Speaking to the Soul – May 13


Come, wild animals of the field! Come, wild animals of the forest! Come and devour my people! For the leaders of my people—the Lord’s watchmen, his shepherds—are blind and ignorant. They are like silent watchdogs that give no warning when danger comes. They love to lie around, sleeping and dreaming. Like greedy dogs, they are never satisfied. Isaiah 56:9-11

As a church leader I find these words both incredibly challenging and agonisingly sad. I am sure that we have all known church leaders who have worked extremely hard and rightfully earned people’s love and respect. But there are lazy leaders as well. Here Isaiah depicts the way in which spiritual leaders in his own day totally missed the point. They were the opposite of shepherds. They didn’t care for the sheep at all. Their only concern was to have a good time. Isaiah goes on to describe how they loved to party and get drunk, and then to plan even bigger parties (v12).

None of us should think that we are incapable of laziness or distraction. Those of us who are leaders need to keep our eyes focused on our incredible God-given responsibility to care for the flock, working hard to nourish and strengthen people in their spiritual lives. We should always be aiming to give the very best of ourselves to the Lord’s work, knowing that what we do has eternal importance.

If you are not a church leader, I want to encourage you to pray fervently for those who are called to this important task. To be a shepherd to God’s people is an extraordinarily demanding calling. It is a massive privilege but, at the same time, it is physically, spiritually and mentally taxing. Church leaders are human and, like you, can have good and bad days. They need your love, understanding and prayerful support to be all that God wants them to be.

In what ways could you be more effective in supporting your church leaders?

Thank you, Lord, that you have called men and women to be leaders of your people. Please grant them your daily inspiration and encouragement so that they will be effective shepherds. Amen